Last night I was at a meeting with the senior police officer who has overall responsibility for the policing of todays election across Sussex and Surrey. Just as each of the parties have a huge number of people focused on getting ‘their’ vote out and attempting to influence the outcome by ensuring that the right people make it to the polling stations, so this police officer has a huge number of police officers on call to ensure that there is safety for everyone in Sussex throughout the day.
Just as George Bush and Tony Blair and other leaders have used their roles to impose a form of democracy on nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq and many others, so we now have men in other parts of the world who are focusing their attempts on disrupting this very process in our communities. There are many reasons why a high turnout of young people, of women and of course of men too is vital. As Katie Russell has written in today’s Guardian, using the example of the suffragettes is not necessarily a good spur to many people today, even though it acts as a challenge to those of us who are of a certain age. However the bomb in Manchester and the appalling actions in London at the weekend should spur us on, not deter us. The protection of all people, especially those who are seen as targets which includes the police themselves is vital. Equally it is important that any peaceful demonstrations such as those planned by the progressive alliance are free to take place. As we are on heightened alert there is always a risk that someone will act in a manner that is a bit heavy handed. It is vital that does not occur today.
Ultimately the outcome of the election could have a huge impact on issues such as the sales of weapons to other nations and our own military use of weapons in other parts of the world. As well as a safe outcome today, we need one that will also lead to peace throughout the world.